Along the outskirts of the eastern rim of the Milky Way lies a planet referred to the locals as Belandria’s Deine.
Translation: Belandria’s Dawn.
The belandrians are a species of absurdly, ridiculously, borderline supernaturally attractive females. There’s no such thing as an ugly belandrian, or a fat belandrian, or even just an average, run of the mill, plain jane belandrian.
They’re all hot…and they’re all purple.
And I’m not going to lie. I am partial to them. As the old saying goes, “once you go grape, you’ll never escape.”
We earthlings call belandrians by a different name. “Bella donnas.” True, Italian for “beautiful woman” is “bella donna” and “beautiful women” is “belle donne” but at some point, “bella donnas” just stuck for them. It had a lot to do with the famous earthling space explorer/journalist Giuseppe DeNunzio, who reported the existence of Belandria’s Dawn to Earth years ago, then never returned.
Poor guy. Had no idea what he was up against. Never stood a chance.
Zumani. I’m not ashamed to say that I met her in a bella donna strip joint. Belandria’s Dawn is lousy with them. Modeling, stripping, and assassinations are actually the top three industries on that planet. You scoff but when you keep in mind that we’re talking about a world filled to the brim of jaw droopingly foxy purple chicks, it makes sense. Especially that last one.
We had a whirlwind romance. Long walks on the beach. Holding hands. Lovemaking by a cozy fire. We felt safe enough with one another to share our hopes, dreams, fears, and aspirations. I’d never been in love before. I wasn’t sure I was capable of it until I met her.
She asked me to tie the knot. Since it’d only been a few weeks, it seemed a bit forward, not too mention out of line with my old fashioned ways. I was the man, after all. It should of been me popping the question. But once it was popped, I felt an overwhelming desire to spend the rest of my life with her so I said yes.
Funny thing about interspecies love affairs. There’s a tendency for things to get lost in translation. Turns out what bella donnas and what earthlings mean by “tying the knot” are two entirely separate and distinct concepts.
As soon as I accepted what I thought was a proposal, she gave me a deep, passionate kiss…then tied a damn leash around my neck, dragged my butt naked carcass all the way to a high priestess who, in the name of the Goddess Mother (the bella donnas’ deity), anointed my forehead with some purple berry juice and declared me to be Zumani’s “property.”
I thought she wanted to get married. She just wanted me to be her slave. Insert joke about how there’s no difference here.
Days later, I managed to escape the cage she locked me in but she refused to let me go without a fight. It was a firefight, in fact. An intense skirmish that took out half a block of Modala City. I caught a break when she wasn’t looking and hijacked a cab out of there. I still feel bad for pulling a gun on that hot purple cabbie but I’d run out of options.
That was a year ago and word had it that she’d been hunting me ever since. Did I forget to mention that she moonlighted as an assassin for ILL Sector? Headed by the wealthy and powerful Lady Illyria, many a male being has met his end in the arms of this vast network of lethal seductresses.
“You never cease to embarrass me,” Zumani said.
“What did I do now?”
“You tell me,” my ex-lover (or owner?) said. “A bounty of one hundred trillion credits has just been placed on your worthless head.”
I clutched my chest. I wasn’t so much scared as I was thrilled. Touched even.
“Get out,” I said. “That’s got to be a typo.”
“No property,” Zumani said. “The order was handed down by Lady Illyria herself. All agents are to drop whatever they are doing and destroy you. I shall very much enjoy wrapping my hands around your throat and strangling you until your eyes pop out of their sockets and gush puss all over the walls.”
“Yeesh,” I said. “Thought about it much?”
“Everyday since you humiliated me,” Zumani said. “A belandrian is nothing without her honor. Men were made to serve women. Such is the belandrian way. By the Goddess Mother’s divine law, your place is under my foot, licking my boot heel!”
“I thought I was getting married,” I said. “I didn’t know I was agreeing to become a slave!”
With a deadpan expression she asked, “There’s a difference?”
You probably think she was kidding. She wasn’t. On her world, slavery and marriage are the same thing.
“A belandrian who can’t keep her slaves in line will never have a place in high society,” Zumani complained. “There has been no end to the scorn and ridicule I have been subjected to by my peers since I let you get away.”
I grinned. “Since you…let me get away?”
Zumani got all huffy and indignant. “What? Preposterous! Why would I LET you get away?”
I batted my eyelashes. “Because you luuuuuuurrrve me baby!”
She scoffed. “What is this? What is this ‘luuuuuurrrrvvve’ you speak of? Is that an earth word for ‘love?’ I do not love you! I never will! Damn you, property, when I find you I will rip open your jaws, shove my foot down your throat and kick your heart out of your asshole!”
Alien Jones looked over to me and whispered, “That’s love.”
“WHO IS THAT?” Zumani barked. “Is that the little green man? I will collect the billion on his head as well!”
Jones was offended. “Why are you worth a hundred trillion and I’m only a lousy billion? I’m a legendary scientist!!! I’m an accomplished explorer! I’m a…I’m a…”
I held up a hand, bidding him to talk to it. “He isn’t wrong, baby,” I said to Zumani. “You’ve still got it for me, and you’ve got it baaaaaaaddd.”
“I won’t dignify your pathetic suck hole any longer. I despise you.”
“You do?” I asked. “Then why would you call me to warn me that you’re coming for me?”
Zumani sighed. She looked down. “You’re right. Of all the property I have owned, you were the most handsome, the most charming, and the most gentle. My honor will be restored as soon as you are dead by the hand of a belandrian. It does not matter which one but for what it is worth…”
“I hope it isn’t me.”
“I hope it isn’t either baby.”
A single tear streamed down her cheek. I never knew she had it in her.
“Please don’t do anything obvious,” Zumani said. “Don’t go to your home or any of your old haunts. Stay out of the strip clubs…”
“That’s crazy talk,” I said.
“…don’t make it easy for me to find you, property. Please. At least do this for me.”
“I will,” I said.
The holographic image of the love of my life flickered. She kept talking but her voice transmission became garbled. I couldn’t make out what she was saying. Her face was replaced by a static horizontal line that bounced with every word uttered by a familiar voice.